This yr’s SEMA Present featured a cavalcade of modified Ford Broncos exhibiting simply how customisable the rugged off-roader is, and making us much more pissed off it’s not coming right here.
The SEMA (Speciality Tools Market Affiliation) Present is America’s premier automotive commerce present, held yearly in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s an industry-focussed occasion designed to offer exhibitors with extra enterprise and model consciousness whereas providing a platform to launch new merchandise and community with a variety of native and worldwide automotive professionals.
Whereas the occasion covers the total spectrum of automotive genres, it does have a robust off highway element and is usually a pageant of full dimension vans and Jeeps. However this yr, the occasion was overrun by the favored and adaptable Ford Bronco.
Arguably on present in higher numbers than Jeep, the Ford Bronco has been clearly adopted as a useful platform for the US market and the aftermarket producers who’ve invested closely in creating an enormous quantity of equipment and upgrades for it.
In each corridor and in all method of accent classes, modified Ford Broncos have been proudly on show. Whether or not it was automobile audio, window tinting, bull bars or efficiency wheels, the Ford Bronco was clearly the flavour of the yr. Which in flip raises two questions from my facet as a world journalist: why is it so widespread and why don’t we get it in Australia?
Its recognition appears to stem from the truth that its look heralds again to the long-lasting seems of the early Broncos, Worldwide Scouts and even Chevy Blazers however because the story goes, again within the 60s, a number of the design engineers from Worldwide Harvester have been poached throughout to Ford and the 1966 Bronco was born!
So, whether or not it’s impressed by the unique Scout or early Bronco, the present Bronco nonetheless holds the form and contours of that period and the attraction its fashionable incarnation presents with is clearly apparent.
So what about its availability in Australia? Ford says the automobile will stay as left-hand drive (LHD), making it not appropriate for our native market however there’s extra to it than that.
Robust gross sales of the Ford Ranger may very well be impacted by a direct competitor (even from the identical producer) and Ford is probably going reluctant to spend the money and time required to create one other automobile for a market they’re already doing exceptionally nicely in, with out having to re- or over-invest.
Rumours abound the present Bronco is only a re-shelled Ford Ranger, a lot because the Toyota FJ Cruiser was a Prado beneath. There could be some fact to that, however in any case it’s not sufficient to encourage Ford to tamper with its Ranger market down beneath.
Andy Brown, proprietor of ARB, offered additional proof by saying the Ford Bronco had introduced with ample mechanical adjustments and variations to require its personal devoted Previous Man Emu suspension answer with no parts from the Ford Ranger package relevant.
Subsequently, whereas it’s does share some very fundamental platform similarities, it’s completely different sufficient to be of its personal existence.
Ford has beforehand said that it doesn’t make monetary sense to supply the Bronco in a RHD manufacturing facility choice, even for widespread 4WD fanatic markets like Australia.
Plus, whereas the Bronco relies on the identical Aussie-developed T6 platform that additionally underpins the Aussie Ranger and Everest, which was partly developed in Australia, it’s only in-built LHD in North America and China, with no prospect of a manufacturing facility RHD manufacturing mannequin within the foreseeable future.
The Ford Bronco was first launched again in 1966 to chase gross sales of the favored Worldwide Scout. 5 generations of the Bronco have been bought from 1966 to 1996 and after a 25-year hole, the sixth era (present mannequin) was launched for MY21.
Not like most of its predecessors although and similar to its Ranger counterpart, the present Bronco sports activities a ladder-frame chassis however with absolutely unbiased entrance suspension. Not like typical IFS autos although, Ford says the specifically designed IFS configuration gives superior coil size and journey for improved off roading.
Equally, gone are the bigger capability V8 engines and powering the present Bronco is both a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine or a twin-turbo 2.7-litre V6. No diesel is offered at this stage.
It’s a disgrace that the Bronco will not be out there in Australia and there could be another compliance points lurking that negate the chance. In any other case, it will absolutely be a success right here simply because the FJ Cruiser was.
Given the look, efficiency and out there equipment, we might all like to see the Bronco right here in dealerships, and whereas we gained’t be holding our breath, there are a selection of unbiased importers trying to herald restricted numbers and convert them regionally to LHD.